3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2017 11:50 AM by dj_paige

    Organise years of jumbled photos


      Hi, totally new to lightroom.

      Over the years of taking digital photos and upgrading computers I've ended up with an external hard drive with a jumble of folders on.

      I have imported these into lightroom and would like to begin the task of shuffling and organising them. I have had a little play but decided as I'm new that rather not just play around, I want to do it correctly. Please could someone advise how to go about this? I literally have folders that may contain holidays, birthdays, schools photos all mixed up.

        • 1. Re: Organise years of jumbled photos
          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You could consider using keywords.You might also want to consider creating collections for different events. I think either of these methods would be easier and more reliable than trying to move the images to different folders.

          • 2. Re: Organise years of jumbled photos
            john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Leave the existing stuff in its existing folders, and focus on adding keywords, captions and titles to these photos. Add the country / state / city / location info too, if you are enthusiastic. And do this to a few images at a time, whenever you get the urge - it's a little often, rather than one big job that you keep putting off. With these metadata fields populated, it doesn't matter if photos are jumbled up in different folders - you'll be able to use the metadata to find pictures much quicker.


            With new pictures, import them into a date-based folder system - which is Lightroom's default. Add metadata as above.


            So organisation means adding metadata, not shuffling photos around.

            • 3. Re: Organise years of jumbled photos
              dj_paige Level 10

              As JimHess said, consider using keywords. No wait ... I'm going to say it more definitively ... keywords are the perfect tool here, and optionally use other metadata as well (such as titles, captions, etc.).


              It doesn't matter what folder the photos are in, if you assign keywords to all of your photos, then you can find them any time you want, using the keywords and optionally using other metadata.


              Do not go down the path of moving folders or files around or renaming folders or files. This is bound to fail. Why? Because photos can have only one file name and be in only one folder; but photos are multi-dimensional in their nature (who, what, when, where, why, etc.) and you can assign as many keywords as you want (and other metadata) to your photos. There are many many benefits to keywords for this task, and many many disadvantages to using folders and file names for this task.


              So leave the photos in their poorly organized photos (import using ADD) and then begin the process of adding keywords and other metadata to the photos. Never look in the folders ... when you need to find the photos, search in Lightroom for the desired keyword and other metadata.